TOKYO, JAPAN – Young hip Tokyoites are flocking to Bobby Hoffman’s for bad beer, burnt hot dogs, and dad jokes. In much the same way that a generation of Americans first experienced a Japanese steakhouse at Benihana.
A stainless-steel gas grill is ensconced in the middle of concrete slab. Folding camping chairs sit in a semi-circle facing the grill. Young Asian, primarily Japanese, couples trickle into Bobby Hoffman’s. As they pass a bright blue cooler stocked with weak, but cold, American mass-produced beer, they take one and find a seat. The loud distortion of guitar music fills the air and the small conversations the couples share cannot be heard. With the rising crescendo of the music a tall wavy haired 40 something wearing a polo, board shorts, and an apron with the silhouette of a lobster stenciled upon it.
He dons a ridiculously puff chef’s hat and quickly shotguns one of the weak beers. He ignites the grill and begins telling corny puns and he shucks some good ol’ corn on the cob and places it on the grill. The jokes evolve into bawdy songs. Steaks, brats, and chicken breasts are added to the grill. The beer flows. The music plays and lawn games like corn hole are played.Welcome to an evening at Bobby Hoffman’s. Where the affluent young Japanese go to immerse themselves in midwestern American lifestyle. At least as depicted in the movies and television.
Danni Dillinger joined The Grand Beacon’s writing team in late 2020. Hailing from Northwest Indiana, Danni enjoys scouring the amish flea markets, restaurants, and artisan studios that pockmark the countryside. As a recent empty nester, Danni has found a new love in sharing her discoveries of great grub and festive activities with the public at large. Go Blackhawks!